Wednesday, November 19, 2014


It's time to upgrade, look more sophisticated and mooove on! FYI if your a regular reader, you may see some changes to this site in the up and coming few weeks. I will be changing to the website domain which is currently being built as we speak.

Now if your worried that you will never find me again NOOOOOO! Don't panic because all the clicks to this site will be redirected to my new site. Better yet if you want to stay updated just go find me on Twitter @gmaston or on Facebook.

Talk to you soon!

Exercises For The Oldies

Do you think you’re too over the hill to exercise? Well think again! There is a large variety of exciting ways to exercise at any age. Everyone knows that exercise is the key to a strong body and mind, but often it’s a matter of deciding where to start.

The human body no matter what age you are, can adapt and improve. Yes you can build muscle at the age of 80, and you can still get fitter at 70! Here it goes, my top pick of things you must get into if you think you’re over the hill:

Aqua aerobics 

Aquatic based exercise is a great way to rehab from joint related injuries and to work around balance and mobility restrictions, especially those arthritic joints and painful lower backs.

It’s an easy way to increase exercise intensity and work in the aerobic fitness zone without putting undue pressure on joints. In heated indoor pools you will also find the warmth of the water softens muscles allowing you to increase flexibility through a variety of stretch positions. Because you can do more in the water, you will find activities of daily living become easier. Now who doesn’t want that? There are plenty of council run pools that have a timetable full of aqua aerobic classes you can join for a small entry fee, just check out your local pool.


Ok so the wives of husbands everywhere are going to hate me for this… playing golf is good for your health. It’s often thought of as a gentleman’s game however it is suitable for everyone at all ages. All the wives out there you may want to join your hubby at a game of golf!

An 18-hole game results 8-9km of walking It’s low intensity and can contribute to improved fitness, lung function and physical mobility. Make sure you ditch the golf buggy so you walk or else all the benefits from playing are lost. Plus it’s a social game often you don’t even release your exercising because you’re too busy chatting away.

Tai chi 

I see some oldies do this at the local park I walk my dog at every morning. Tai Chi is a fantastic exercise that focuses on balance and flexibility. It’s great for those who want to improve confidence in walking.  It’s a martial arts discipline described as moving meditation. It’s an ancient Chinese form of self defence, which includes a set of 13 exercises that imitate the movements of animals. It’s slow and controlled breathing helps to calm the nervous system, which may alleviate stress in some people.


Next time you see an old exercise bike being thrown out on the street or at a garage sale pick it up! It’s a low cost, versatile form of exercise that can be used for easy to high intensity fitness training.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous you may want to consider riding outdoors. Easy cycling cane used as a rehabilitation exercise post knee surgery or for arthritic knees depending on the area affected. In contrast it can also be used for higher intensity interval based fitness training consisting. You can fitness boost and rehab on the same piece of equipment!

Actually one client of mine avoided a second open-heart surgery cardiac bypass by starting off indoor cycling.  His program consisted off starting off by just turning the pedals for 5minutes each day, just trying to avoid the onset of angina. Each month after that, I increased his cycling to an extra 5minutes and incremental increases in resistance. Lets just say cycling saved his life and now he can exercise for 40-60min each day at any intensity he likes. Cycling is a lifesaver!

As you can see there are exercise options for every one. Do you have any suggestions on what do to for exercise when your ‘over the hill’ let me know by leaving a comment.

Pre & Post Workout Snacks

Need to know if you should snack before training? Get the low down here...


Sunday, November 16, 2014

What Is The Best Diet?

Want to know what is the best diet to follow? You'll e surprised it's not low carb or low fat...


Friday, November 14, 2014

The Low Down On Low Carb Diets

I thought I would supplement this video blog with a little bit of an after thought about low carb diets. I think I got my point across about it being not an ideal diet for everyone, but may be effective for some. As I do on most days, I read through various nutrition pages on the Internet and delve into what some leading fad dieters are getting up to. Yes I know I like the self-torment, but some time this stuff can lead to me looking into a topic further trying to figure out;

1. Why it worked for them
2. What does the science say
3. Practical application to my clients or the general population

One of the biggest pushers of low fat dieting for weight loss in Australia is a lady called Christine Cronau. As the story goes as per her Fb page and website, that she once was a low fat dieter with a diet full of carbs, ate pizza and chocolate mousse every night but never felt satisfied or lost weight.

She then became a nutritionist and author after she gave up the grains and followed a low carb high fat diet. In one of her Fb posts she boosts that on one single day she survived off eating just a block of cheese, and didn’t feel hungry all day.

 Ok so there is a lot to take in with that story and what a can of worms that opens up! So I am not going to question if or if not Christine is healthy or not because that would be making assumptions.

But what I am going to do is put this in context to explain some things I have been thinking about since this whole low carb saga has happened again. I say again because with nutrition it’s very cyclical seems like on a 5-10 year rotation nutrition bandwagon jumpers start blaming either fats, carbs or sugars for weight gain. In the 80’s low carb diets were popular too in the form of the Atkins diet, then we had the Ornish diet, which is now basically modernised into the raw food movement or even the vegan diet.

 Anyway I digress…

 The first thing I want everyone to realise that although we keep blaming one type of macronutrient according to the season we don’t eat single nutrients in isolation, we eat food. Food is a combination of proteins, fats and carbs, all of which have a function in the body, whether we want to believe it or not.

 Now to me it seems a little silly that when I see taglines “Bring back the fat” and accusations that the Australian Guidelines for Healthy Eating are making people fatter because they recommend eating grains and dairy. There is no concrete definition of how much fat are we meant to be bringing in. AND another point how can we say the guidelines are wrong when A. we know most of the population doesn’t follow them (Last nutrition survey revealed a majority of the population doesn't eat enough veggies or fruit) and B. There are so many other factors, which make people fat!

There is a general census what constitutes a low carb diet and it’s anything that falls below 100g per day. This is not the same as a ketogenic diets, which is less than 50g of carbs per day. – Leave keto diets for another blog post.

 Now as I said in my video not everyone needs to go extremely low carb to lose weight, nor do they have to go low carb to have good health. I am and all my clients are a classic example of this. I think this is especially a case in point with those with diabetes particularly on insulin. Low carb could result in hypoglycemia and ketosis breakdown of muscle tissue.

OK that’s not to say that they don't work.

Case in point Christine Cronau, who has clearly lost weight from “bringing back the fat”. What’s really interesting in low carb diet studies is that obese people show really good results on low carb diets, this is mainly due to the satiety factor of eating so much protein and fat. From what I can gather this is Chritsine’s main argument. From feeling fuller she was able to eat less in general, then she was able to lose weight.

 No doubt low carb diets can work for SOME people, but not for ALL people. I have also seen people who have gained weight by doing this. Nutrition is far more complicated than just cutting out carbs.

As a public health message I don’t think the low carb message is useful either. It would be actually dangerous because it is open to interpretation to an uneducated public. Worse still I think we could get ourselves into the same mess as we did with the “low fat” message.

In the past commercial food companies cottoned on that “low fat” had a health halo and people interpreted that as a free for all. Because something is low fat, it’s automatically healthy and therefore I can eat as much as I want. Getting rid of fat out of your diet to eat more refined carbs is a recipe for disaster.

This is exactly what we are currently seeing with the “bring back the fat” movement people are snacking on sticks of butter, cream, red meat and cheese. There are plenty of research papers to show the health risk to doing this.

Again I will reiterate, not everyone will see these health risks and that’s because of genetic variability. Some people are highly susceptible to rises in cholesterol others are not. This is exactly what happens when you have a chronic smoker who is healthy. Yes they do exist! Just because you smoke doesn’t mean you will get lung cancer. Your risk is higher, but it you have good genetics you may not get it.

What we really need, and what we already have is public health messages that sit nicely in the middle. A little bit of everything.

The next part of this argument which really has me interested is the research done in sports for endurance athletes. It’s becoming common practice to cycle athletes on to high fat low carb diets for 1-2 days during a training cycle to improve their fat oxidation.

Basically it helps them adapt to be better fat burners so they don’t have to reply on carbs to fuel their races. What they are trying to do is gain metabolic flexibility. It’s really interesting to note that some people are better fat or carb burners than others. There was one study I read that actually found that a majority of obese people are carb burners, hence they feel hungry all the time. So it makes sense if you restrict carbs, hunger disappears.

 Anyway what happens if you go low carb all the time, you actually down regulate your carb burning metabolic processes. Basically you become a subpar carb burner, which can be pretty crappy. Of course vice a versa occurs if you eat too many carbs you become crappy at burning fats. Either is not helpful.

When you reintroduce what every macro you have been avoiding (fats or carbs) your body is very poor at handling them and the result would likely be weight gain. The key is to be metabolically flexible on both ends. Good at burning fats and carbs.

So to sum up, I can see the potential to go low carb for a short duration of time, maybe a period of weight loss 1 week or two to create better metabolic flexibility. But I certainly wouldn’t stay low carb forever. As for the “bring back the fat” movement I really do see it as a fad that will blow over. One can’t possibly advocate that eating block or cheese or butter in a one meal regime can be possible good for you psychologically, your digestive health or social interaction.

 Food is part of culture, a huge part in how people socialise, tradition, enjoyment, when you take that away what are you really doing?

Weight loss is all well and good, but if you whole life boils down to your body weight, well I think there are some serious issues there.